Today we have an author with a chilly road to share with you. She's an avid outdoors-woman who loves thunderstorms, water sports, and winter camping. She lives with her husband and two step daughters in Ontario where she pursues her love of writing. She also thinks dog breath is pretty cool. Oh, and she's offering up three SIGNED bookmarks for three of you lucky Alleywalkers. Fill out the FORM at the end of the interview to enter!!
Terry Lynn Johnson, author of DOGSLED DREAMS
You began writing for magazines. What is your favorite article you've published.
That is hard! I wrote one about canoe racing with my husband. That holds a special place in my heart because it's the only time I've ever written about our relationship. But that hasn't been published yet!
One article that has a link is Frozen Turd Wars.
I like it because it's about one of my favourite sled dogs. He was quite a character - as the title suggests.
I read on your website about the writers who have influenced you: Scott O'Dell and Gary Paulsen. I also know that you truly appreciate nature. How does nature influence your writing?
Nature influences every part of my life. I live in the bush on a lake. I work as a Conservation Officer. I camp and play outdoors in my spare time. Being outside is my church. It fills up my soul. There is so much to be learned if we listen to the beat of nature. Gary Paulsen is a master at capturing that on the page. I'm still trying and learning.
You are obviously a dog lover. Is this one of the reasons you were attracted to writing?
I wanted to write my memoirs about my time working in Quetico Provincial Park. Ten-day canoe trips for twelve years makes for lots of stories. But when I took a course to learn how, my tutor convinced me to write about my dogs. My passion for dogs leaped off the pages and crackled with energy. Two books later, I feel as though I'm just getting started writing about dogs. There's so much to say!
DOGSLED DREAMS, your debut novel, is due for release in January of 2011. Tell us what makes this unique from other middle grade books.
Well, there aren't a lot of books about sled dogs! And certainly having a female protagonist who is brave enough to run dogs on her own is pretty cool. In writing DOGSLED DREAMS, I had hoped to show the relationship a musher has with her dogs so that everyone who reads it will understand the special and unique nature of the mushing lifestyle.
Can you tell us anything about ICE DOGS, another novel you're working on?
ICE DOGS is a wilderness survival story - with sled dogs, of course! It's my first young adult novel. This is the story I managed to snag my rock-star agent with, Caryn Wiseman. Currently, I'm working with her on revisions.
I posted the first page on my blog during a blog-fest.
Silly question: if there were no books *dodging tomatoes and mustard splatters*, what would you do to get away or relax?
I have a lot of interests and hobbies. Sometimes too many! I'm constantly learning new things because I crave change and need to keep moving forward. Always.
My recent obsession is kayaking. Hiking is as necessary as breathing. My best ideas come when I'm hiking. I also sail, snowshoe, ski, sing in the shower and dance in the rain.
You are represented by Caryn Wiseman of the Andrea Brown Agency. How did that all come about?
After I wrote ICE DOGS, I was extremely excited about it. I decided I should have an agent and started researching. I queried six agents and received three requests for fulls that same evening. Caryn responded within an hour! You can imagine my amazement that my DREAM agent had responded so quickly. When she finally got back to me after reading the full, she said she loved it and that survival stories were IN right now. Good timing! I'm pretty sure luck had a huge part to play in my success! But I'll take it.
What are the three most important things you've learned about yourself on your road to publication?
You ask tough questions!
Hah...just imagine the angst of my poor kids. *tee-hee*
Okay - truthfully, I've learned to have faith in my writing. I was so nervous when I started submitting to magazines. But then they all sold. I felt open and exposed when I started submitting my novel. But then that too found a home. I even won a few awards for my articles this year. I've learned to allow myself to believe I'm a writer.
I've also learned that I suck at patience. And I can't be alone in a room with a pan of brownies.
This is something I shared with Terry, and she really enjoyed. I thought you'd all like it too.
S: This past school year, my eleven-year-old daughter was given a project. She had to adopted a sledder who was participating in the Iditarod Dogsledding Race. After following her musher, Sebastian Shculle, for two to three days she was hooked. (I think she had crush on the guy.) It was one of the most fascinating adventures she's ever taken from home on our computer. (BTW, my daughter will love your book. She was so excited when I showed her the information I had on you and the book.)
TLJ: This is seriously cool! you've totally made my day.
Do you believe DOGSLED could/will influence dog sledding itself? What are your hopes?
When I used to race sled dogs, I always had people come up to me asking questions about my life with the dogs. My hopes with this story, are to let people in to see a world that they could only imagine on the sidelines of watching a race. I wanted to show how a musher and her team get to the race. And the sheer magic of the dogs.
In the past, you worked for a dogsledding company. How did you end up taking home eighteen Huskies?
Trust me, once you start mushing, it's incredibly addictive. You give up your freedom, your money, your time and your heart and soul for the dogs who give you everything in return. The relationship a musher has with her dogs is different than with a pet. It's richer, deeper, more rewarding. I apprenticed under an experienced musher, and built bonds with some of those dogs. I had to take them home. Then my real education began! But, that is a whole other story.
Terry is a member of the Elevensies, a community of 2011 debut authors. So cool! You can also find Terry at her Website, her Blog, and Facebook. Pay her a visit and give her a follow. It's great.
Fill out the FORM